Interpretation is an important technique that is used in the psychoanalytic theory. Freud explained that if interpretations are made too soon, they can cause resistance from the client. He also stated that one must form a positive relationship with their therapist before interpretations are made (Murdock, 2017). In the video presentation of Helen, who is being counseled by Dr. Donavan, we see several instances of interpretation being used. Dr. Donavan is careful not to speak too soon during the session, but rather he waits until Helen has finished explaining the dream to him. Dr. Donavan used interpretation to show the comparison between Helen’s dream and what she was facing in real life. The river was like her everyday life, in which she was just basically floating along without being “noticed”.
Helen even told the therapist that her son was the only one who acknowledged that she was floating by. The professor in both the dream and in their meeting expressed concern and worry for Helen, which is something that she is not getting at home. Dr. Donavan was able to help Helen explore the idea that the dream represented the inner struggle she was feeling between returning to her career or continuing to dedicate her time to her husband and children.
I thought the way Dr. Donavan used open ended questions when talking to Helen was helpful. He was not quick to jump to conclusions but let Helen lead the conversation, which led to him being able to effectively make interpretations about her dream. Even though Helen waited two weeks to tell Dr. Donavan about running into her old professor, I felt that she was comfortable in their client/therapist relationship and that the techniques he used during their session were beneficial to her.
Murdock, N.L. (2017). Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Case Approach (4th ed.).
Psychoanalysis helps the client to uncover and resolve unconscious conflicts and to strengthen the ego by redirecting energy to conscious processes. What methods does Dr. Donavan use to achieve this goal? How effective is it with Helen?
Psychoanalysis contains a variety of methods which assist in making unconscious conflicts conscious (Jones & Butman, 2011, p. 109). During the therapy session with Helen, Dr. Donovan used transference, free association, and dream analyzing to assist Helen uncover her resolve her unconscious conflicts.
An important theme in psychoanalytic therapy is transference, the relationship between the counselor and client will develop during therapy (Jones & Butman, 2011, p. 108). Helen had stated feelings of not being seen by her family. Her conflict is that this old friend has shown interest in her, and she is considering the possibilities. Dr. Donovan asked Helen how did being in the therapy session make her feel, did she feel visible with him in counseling?
Dr. Donovan also used dream interpretation when working with Helen. Helen had dreamed about being in a river and passing by her family not being seen except for possibly her son seeing her. The man that Helen is attracted to from her past was on the side of the river, he saw her. “Psychoanalysis assert that dream analysis is especially helpful in uncovering important unconscious material” (Jones & Butman, 2011, p. 109).
Free association in another concept in psychoanalysis. When the session first began, Dr. Donovan started using free association with Helen to get her to open up. This free association is what let to Dr. Donovan knowing about the man Helen ran into in New York, which now sparked an interest with Helen.
Helen was resistant to some free association, most likely because she wasn’t ready to deal with the emotions. A few times Helen, would sigh and wouldn’t reveal what exactly she was thinking, she was blocking her thoughts (Eremie & Ubulom, 2016).
Overall, I believe each method of psychoanalysis was effective for Helen, without free association Dr. Donovan wouldn’t have known about the man in New York. Dream analysis seemed to be the most effective of the three methods. As for transference, I worry that it could cause issues instead of helping, it could possibly create transference neurosis (Ferreira & Carrijo, 2016).
Ferreira, D. S., & Carrijo, C. (2016). Freud’s transference management: An analysis of the relationship between transference and suggestion. Agora, 19(3). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1516-14982016003004
Jones, S. L., & Butman, R. E. (2011). Modern Psychotherapies: A Comprehensive Christian Appraisal. Downers Grove, IL : Intervarsity Press.